Endorsement: Pappas for Cook County treasurer

This endorsement is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas has been showing everybody how it's done since 1998.

Among her many accomplishments in those 24 years: Cutting the office's workforce from 250 employees to the current 58; reducing the budget for 21 straight years (currently it's $12.7 million - 94% funded through commercial use fees, not taxes); vast upgrades to the office's technology - which not only streamlines the operation but offers unprecedented public access to valuable information; and converting literally millions of pieces of paper to electronic data.

And so on. Pappas's streamlining is well documented and studied by outsiders.

If service to the public had suffered from all these efficiencies, we'd be a lot less laudatory, of course. But the opposite has occurred. The website, can be translated into 108 languages. The public has been given more payment options. The Black and Latino Houses Matter program has returned more than $225 million to taxpayers since March 2020. Her debt disclosure ordinance requires local governments in Cook County to upload their financial statements to her website, meaning taxpayers can see exactly what they are being taxed by each government - and how much debt those governments have incurred.

Her office's community outreach programs educate property owners about exemptions they may have missed.

Pappas is 72 and apparently happy to continue in this job for at least the next four years. She's probably not the most popular public servant among other government types, but the taxpaying public in Cook County should be grateful for her service.

Republican Peter Kopsaftis was drafted by the Cook County GOP to be the treasurer candidate on the general election ballot after no one ran in the June primary. He did not return a candidate questionnaire and has been unreachable via phone, text and email.

Pappas is endorsed

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